Salon recommends

What we're reading, what we're liking.

By Salon Staff

Published October 16, 2000 7:30PM (EDT)

Flophouse: Life on the Bowery, by David Isay and Stacy Abramson
This book of photographs and first-person accounts is the partner volume to an unforgettable radio documentary (aired on NPR) about the guys who live in what Isay and Abramson call "the shabbiest hotel accommodations imaginable" in Manhattan's Bowery district. You know the thousand stories said to lurk in the naked city? Well, these men have at least a hundred of the most eccentric, amazing and heartbreaking of those stories. A truly alarming number of the individuals included are former academics, but drugs and mental illness are what have brought most of them to skid row. As one contributor puts it, "There's no book you could possibly read that can teach you more than watching the human animal starve himself of everything in a place like this."

--Laura Miller

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
This is the first part of a six-book fantasy series -- "Song of Ice and Fire" -- with three books out so far. It's one of the most evocative fantasy sagas I've read, right up there with Stephen R. Donaldson and Tolkien. It's set in a place called the Seven Kingdoms, which is a vaguely Arthurian land of lords, ladies and knights, with Tolkienesque magic. The Seven Kingdoms have a lot of problems: major dynastic struggles, a nine-year winter coming on, evil dead advancing from the north, barbarians invading from the east. It's remarkably well-written.

--Andrew Leonard

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